That May, Crowley shows up in Red's current home: a tiny bungalow in Martha's Vineyard. He'll only be here for another week, two at the most, but of all the places he's recently stayed, he prefers this one. It's calm, and peaceful, and he always has enjoyed the sound of seagulls.

After a walk on the beach, he returns to the bungalow smelling of salt and with sand in between his toes. Upon opening his front door, he sees a familiar shape sprawled out on his sofa.

The King of the Crossroads is, as he soon finds out, piss-drunk.

Crowley's suit is disheveled, his usual control shattered. Red gets him out of his suit jacket and away from the bottle of Craig gripped in his hand. He's muttering something about 'bloody Moose' and cages, and Red's just shocked someone who isn't human could get so thoroughly plastered.

At a loss on what else to do for the demon, he hauls him into bed, tucks him in, and turns out the lights. Red falls asleep on the couch that night, after a bowl of New England's finest clam chowder and several hours with the newest lore book he's acquired. This one is about the Heavenly Host. If what Crowley says about Judgment Day is true, he needs to be prepared.

He's reread Revelation eleven times since he last saw Crowley. He won't face the end of times blind.

He wakes the next day when Crowley walks into the living room. Red is a notoriously light sleeper, and just the press of the Crossroads King's bare feet on the wooden floor is enough to jar him out of his slumber. He cracks open one eye and tilts up his fedora so he can view the disheveled demon in full.

Crowley looks strange like this, absent his jacket. His tie is loosened, his feet are devoid of his Italian loafers, and the sleeves of his button-down are rolled to his elbows. He seems almost like a man, less like a monster in an expensive suit.

"Demons can't get hangovers, can they?"

Crowley shakes his head. "No. Handy, that."

Red sits up, pats the couch next to him. "Well, come on then. Something is obviously troubling you. I can provide an attentive ear."

Crowley shuffles over and practically collapses next to him. The demon runs a hand through his hair, staring blankly at his shoes. "They did it."

"Who is they, and what did they do?"

"The Winchesters. They let Lucifer out of his Cage."

"...The Winchesters did that? Not Hell?"

"Through a string of clever manipulations, forced addiction, and an incredibly stupid moose, Lilith was able to trick Sam into killing her... which just so happened to break the final seal to Lucifer's Cage."

Red is not religious, but the first thing out of his mouth is still, "My God."

"Look outside," Crowley instructs, and Red does. The sky is dark, even though it's well past ten in the morning. Thunder rumbles. Lightning streaks across the clouds. "There's a hurricane coming. There's been catastrophic weather all over the world. Random outbreaks of plague. And this is just the beginning."

Red's jet is going to be grounded. He'll need to find a hotel in the city. He can't stay at the bungalow with a hurricane coming.

"It's all over now," Crowley says, eyes dead. "There's no going back once it begins."

"That isn't a very can-do attitude, now is it?" Red asks. "You still have the Colt in your possession, I hope?"

"'Course I do."

"Then use it! Give it to the Winchesters, or use it yourself. It can kill anything, according to every ounce of information I've found on the thing. Perhaps it can even kill the devil himself. It would be a good start to stopping all this End of Times business. You can't give up now. That's never been who you are."

"You're saying I should go up against Satan himself? He'll squash me like a bug!"

"Only if you allow him to," Red counters. He rises to his feet, going to grab his coat from where it hangs by the door. "You're between the devil and the deep blue sea, Mr. Crowley. The time will come very soon where you have to choose."

When he looks back, Crowley is gone.

Six months later, Crowley shows up on Red's doorstep with a leather tote bag over his shoulder. Red's staying in a lighthouse in a small bedroom community outside of Seattle, called Mukilteo. When he saw it was up for rent, he couldn't resist. Crowley can't appear inside, because he's thoroughly warded the place against any and all supernatural entities... at least all the ones he can think of.

Judgment Day is coming. It pays to be cautious when the sky's about to rain fire down on you.

Red opens the door, Luger in hand aimed rather unceremoniously at the newcomer. However, when he sees it's Crowley, he lowers his gun. He doesn't holster it, though. He doesn't like that look in Crowley's eyes, like he's a cat backed into a corner. Never mind that parts of Crowley's suit are singed through completely, and his tie is stained with blood. He reeks of sulfur and fire. A long gash runs from his forehead down the side of his face.

"What happened?" Red asks without preamble.

Crowley swallows. "I chose," the demon coughs out, hoarse.

Red narrows his eyes. "And?" he prompts.

"Lucifer knows I want him dead," he continues, gravel-deep voice even rougher than usual. "And now all of Hell's after me."

They stare at each other for a few moments, and Red feels something bubbling up inside his chest. It takes him a span of five seconds to determine what it is.

It's pride.

He holsters the gun and heads off to alter his demonic warding. It's looking like he's going to be having a house guest.

Crowley hates tea.

Red doesn't care. He sets a cup down in front of the former King of the Crossroads, a chamomile concoction that a nun in Bolivia told him in her broken English was 'the Lord's way of healing'. Crowley looks like nine kinds of Hell (ha ha) and it's the best Red can do for him.

They sit in silence for a time, and Crowley sips his tea, gaze far-off. Red retreats to his bathroom and returns with a field surgeon kit. He doesn't like to sit still, not at times like this. He wants to know more of what happened, what's happening in the Real World, Crowley's world, but now isn't the time to push.

No. Not yet.

He's surprised that Crowley doesn't stop him when he starts methodically cleaning the laceration on the side of his face. He works slow and gentle. It's not the first time he's performed first aid, and it's not the last.

"You're not self-healing," Red observes.

"Overexerted myself," Crowley mutters. He drinks more of his tea. Only dregs remain in the bottom.

Red makes a sound to show that he heard him. He moves onto disinfectant. Crowley doesn't so much as blink when the burning liquid is splashed on his wound. Red doesn't know why he's bothering, really. It's not like a demon can get an infection and die. Immortality has its perks.

"I knew a fellow, once. In London. His name was Kerry. He lived in the basement of an old cafe on the banks of the Thames. I lived with him, for a time. Not that I had much choice, on the run from an organized crime syndicate as I was. He smelled like moth balls and Jim Beam, didn't talk very much. He came home every night, two-fifteen just like clockwork, and collapsed on the couch. He'd be covered in bruises, cuts, second-degree burns. An absolute mess. I'd fix him up every night, and when I was done, I would pour him a glass and ask him what happened. He never did answer me."

Crowley stares at the opposite wall, a veritable storm behind the green glass of his eyes.

"I wouldn't like to repeat that particular experience," Red continues.

The demon finally relaxes, ever-so-slightly, some life flowing back into his expression. His fingers dance on the edge of the cup. Red applies a bandage to the cut, pats it down. Crowley's eyebrow twitches with a familiar kind of annoyance.

"They burnt down my house," Crowley says. "I fought my way out. Barely."

"How did Lucifer find out your plans for him?"

"One of the Three Musketeers let it slip to a particular whore I have history with. She told Lucy, and now here I am."

Red settles down into the chair across the table, folding his hands in front of him. Crowley stirs the dregs in his cup with a teaspoon.

"The Three Musketeers," Red repeats. "The Winchesters, and...?"

"They're bloody angel. Castiel. Angel of Thursday. Please. Couldn't they have picked a more powerful one? Angel of Destruction? Angel of Fire? I hear Nathaniel's a hoot at parties." Crowley leans back in his chair, sticking a finger in the knot of his tie to loosen it, the entire bottom of which is torn to shreds. "I gave them the Colt, told them to empty it into Lucifer's face. Evidently it didn't go as well as I hoped."

"The Colt didn't work against him?"

"Not quite." Crowley retrieves a coin from the pocket of his ruined jacket and holds it up in the light. Its old, bronze, and looks eerily Grecian, though Red can't know for sure. Crowley pinches the coin, and Red is startled when it starts speaking.

"How did it not work?" a gruff voice is heard on the other end, scraping machismo. "The damn gun is supposed to be able to kill anything!"

"Apparently not archangels," another voice says, male, but not nearly as deep as the other. This one sounds exhausted and furious, an odd combination. "That demon, he tricked us. He's probably right in Lucifer's pocket."

Red looks at Crowley.

"First is Dean, second is Sam," Crowley provides. "I slipped a listening device into that phallus on wheels they always drive around."

"Clever," Red compliments. It's something he would've done, in Crowley's place. Great minds... not that he's jumping to compare himself to the Crossroads King.

"I don't know if I buy that," Dean says. "Guy seemed desperate, and it makes sense, you know? No room for Crossroads demons in the new world order."

"If I find him, I'm going to stick Ruby's knife through his skull. We lost Ellen and Jo because of him."

"We'll kill Crowley, we'll kill Meg, and we'll kill Lucifer," Dean responds. "We'll kill them all, Sammy. We just... we need time."

"We may not have much time left," a third voice interjected, almost comically low. "If he's raised Death... it's only a matter of time..."

"That's the angel, Castiel," Crowley provides.

"Thank you, Mr. Sunshine!" Dean cuts across Castiel. "We'll figure out something. We don't have a choice."

"Our only hope now is finding God," Castiel states bluntly. "He is the only one who can stop Michael and Lucifer."

"Well, then we'll fucking find God!" Dean snapped. "Jesus, I'm just... I'm so sick of this crap. We just keep losing people."

"Never again," Sam said thickly. "We're not dragging anyone else into this, from now on. It's the three of us. We're going to have to go it alone, because... I'm not gonna watch anyone else die because of us."

Silence, for a time.

"I'm sorry," Castiel says quietly. "For Ellen and Jo. I know you two cared for them."

"Yeah, well. Sorry ain't gonna bring them back," Dean replies dismally.

Crowley releases the coin, and the live feed to the Winchesters and their angel ceases.

"They're looking for God," Red observes. "Do you think they'll find him?"

Crowley's eyes are dead when he says, "Not a bloody chance."

Red doesn't remember expressly saying that Crowley can stay with him, but the demon does, anyway, and he can't find it within himself to complain. However, when Dembe returns from visiting his daughter, he's less than happy to find the demon lounging in front of the fireplace with a glass of Craig in hand.

Red manages to talk Dembe down from devil-trapping and exorcising Crowley, but it takes a few hours.

Crowley, surprisingly, isn't even a bad house guest. Things seem supernaturally - or say, demonically clean - and the demon even cooks when the mood strikes him. Or snaps his fingers and suddenly covers their dinner table in whatever cuisine fits his fancy for the night. Demons don't eat, but Crowley likes to indulge himself from time to time.

Crowley likes pizza. That's funnier to Red than it should be.

Sometimes Crowley will vanish for a few days, return looking about as hopeless as he had when he departed. Red also periodically disappears, but his business doesn't take him far. The Pacific Northwest is his area of interest, for the time being, as he tries to take out a human trafficking ring that's slowly gaining power. It's a largely contractual dealing, but he won't pretend he doesn't long to see the leader, a German man with a jaw that's been broken one too many times and ice in his eyes, bleeding out at his feet.

They come, they go, they intersect and have a drink. He's had far worse roommates in his time.

Crowley smells much better than Kerry did.

While Red does find sulfur deposits piled up in Crowley's usual places of rest (the demon favors an Eames chair on the third floor and a window seat on the first), he rarely smells the scent on the demon. Crowley wears a distinct kind of cologne, somewhere between cinnamon and wood smoke.

One night, a month into their odd living arrangement, Red stumbles through the door, soaked in blood and with a .22 round embedded into the meat of his shoulder. He's been separated from Dembe, and had to drive twenty miles with one hand on the wheel and the other trying to stem the rushing gush of blood from the wound. As soon as his feet hit the welcome mat, he collapses, black closing in around him like the swaddle of a warm blanket.

He wakes up fourteen hours later, feeling like everything was sucked out of him, and very little had been replaced. But when he manages to gather the strength to check his injury, he sees nothing but a faint white blemish.

Crowley makes him soup and tries not to look sheepish. He fails.

"You're much less of a demon than you'd care for anyone to believe," Red says after his umpteenth spoonful of bean and broth.

Crowley just glares at him and casually comments, "Guess you haven't tasted the secret ingredient yet. Potassium cyanide gives that extra hint of almond I just love."

It's after that day that Red is forced to acknowledge that although Crowley might own his soul, he is, in his own way, Red's friend.

He doesn't have many, so he supposes he should value the demon while the world is still turning.